What if you could track the shipment of a particular grocery item all the way back to the original producer, and do it in a matter of seconds?
If you were dealing with potential food contamination issues — like Rose Acres recently experienced with their 207 million egg recall — and needed to find out whether a particular food shipment was part of a recall, that could take a few days.
Normally you would have to wait for the supplier to contact you with the necessary information. Meanwhile, you’ve pulled all possibly-contaminated items off the shelf while you wait for the correct information to arrive.
With blockchain supply chain development, you could scan the barcodes of a specific item — a carton of eggs, a case of strawberries, a bag of spinach — and be immediately alerted whether it needed to be pulled or if it was safe to sell and consume.
What is blockchain?
Blockchain is essentially blocks of data assembled into a long chain. It’s a spreadsheet that’s encrypted, shared, and synchronized among hundreds, if not thousands, of computers. When a new transaction (a block) is made, it gets added to the spreadsheet (the chain). The block becomes a permanent part of the chain, and it can’t be changed or removed.
More importantly, because this blockchain is not centrally stored, there’s no single point of failure or weakness. It’s not controlled by one centralized entity, so it can’t be hacked or compromised. And because the chain is shared on a network of computers, it’s nearly impossible to hack and change a single record, because the change would immediately be recognized by all the other computers. The change would be flagged as suspicious. Not just flagged as suspicious, it wouldn’t be added to the block.
But the data is still secure because only the people involved in a particular transaction get a decryption key to see the transaction details with blockchain solutions.